Gilas five eyes semifinal vs Taiwanese todayBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TOKYO—Owning a perfect record against Chinese-Taipei, Smart Gilas-Pilipinas is still wary as it plunges into the quarterfinal action in the Fiba-Asia Cup Thursday at Ota Gymnasium here.
“This is the strongest Taiwanese team I’ve seen,” coach Chot Reyes said before leaving Wednesday morning to preside over a full PH team practice. “They have good shooters and good big men. They’re dangerous.”
The Taiwanese have never beaten the Philippines since Marcus Douthit joined the Gilas program,and the latest victory by the Filipinos was a 76-72 decision less than a month ago in the Jones Cup.
“They’re quick and they move around a lot,” Gabe Norwood said. “And they have big guys who really can play. They’re going to be a dangerous opponent for us and we have to come out and play our best.”
The game is set at 2 p.m. (1 p.m. in Manila), with the winner advancing to a Final Four seat opposite possibly Iran and Samad Bahrami, the Group B topnotcher which will battle lightweight Uzbekistan in the 11:30 a.m. game.
Smart Gilas has played Taiwan three times before, with the last Taiwanese victory coming in the 2009 Jones Cup when Powerade represented the Philippines.
But that team, coached by Yeng Guiao and which also had Norwood, returned the favor just a couple of weeks later in Tianjin, China, during group play in the Fiba-Asia Olympic qualifying event.
“They’re strong because they never stop moving,” LA Tenorio, whose breakout game before winning the MVP in the Jones Cup came against Taipei where he scored all of his 11 points in the fourth period, said. “I think we can handle them because they have no one who can stop Marcus.”